Last night, I had The Talk with my son. He had had a rough day, and just before bed I asked him if he was ready to talk about his day. He told me he didn’t really remember what he was thinking–or even if he WAS thinking–when he was disruptive in class. He said “sometimes my ADHD, and something else, makes it difficult for me to control myself.”
“I understand,” I replied,” but what do you mean by something else?”
“Well,” he said, “I don’t think it’s just ADHD. I feel like there’s something else going on and we don’t know what it is.”
(Here’s the part where I reveal that I’m pretty sure my son is psychic. He always know when I’m holding out on him. ALWAYS. The flip side of this is that he’s also a very honest kid. Maybe he’s sure that people know when he’s holding out, too.)
“Ok,” I replied, “what do you think that something else is?”
“I don’t know. But maybe it’s something nobody can describe.” And now he was clearly worried.
So I told him that we actually know what else is going on with him. I told him he is autistic, that we’ve known for some time but wanted to wait to discuss it with him until he was ready, until he could see this as a strength, not an excuse for rough days. And I told him we also waited to tell him because for us it’s not a big deal, that “autism” just describes one facet of how his brain works.
“That’s all!?” And relief washed over his face. “That just means I’m different, and who wants to be normal, anyway?” And then he curled up with his stuffed animals and went to bed.
My kid steals all my best lines.